Hashim Amla has resigned as South Africa Test skipper on Wednesday (January 6) with immediate effect, after the second Test against England in Cape Town ended in a draw. AB de Villiers takes over as captain for the remainder of the series.The 32-year-old, who took the Test baton from Graeme Smith in June 2014, has been under pressure as his slump in batting form coincided with South Africa’s 3-0 drubbing in India. Amla has captained in 14 Tests – with four wins, six draws and four loses.Amla managed just 251 runs in 12 innings in 2015 at a paltry average of 22.81 and reckoned that he could be of greater value to the team as a ‘fully focussed batsman’.
“Naturally this decision is not an easy one but the more I think about it the more I believe I can be of greater value to the Proteas as a fully focused batsman and senior player at this time of rebuilding our team. I am deeply grateful and privileged to have been the Test captain and I wish to thank CSA for the honour of captaining my country. It was enjoyable and indeed a great learning experience,” Amla was quoted as saying in an official press release.
Haroon Lorgat, the Cricket South Africa Chief Executive, revealed that Amla communicated his decision to him and feels the top-order batsman still has a massive role to play in shaping the success of the side. Lorgat also thanked de Villiers for agreeing to fill in right away.
“We respect Hashim’s decision and the manner in which he thought about it and then communicated with me. It was consistent with his well respected personality. He still has a huge role to play in shaping the succe ss of our team without the need for a leadership title. He is just that type of a person and we are very fortunate to have him in our stable. I want to thank AB for readily accepting the challenge of rebuilding our Test team as we seek to remain the best team in the world,” Lorgat said.
Despite taking over on such a short notice, De Villiers, who is also currently South Africa’s One-Day Internationals (ODI) skipper, has set his sights on turning his team’s performances around and leading them to a series win over England.
“I’ve said this before that it is an incredible honour to captain South Africa in any format. The captaincy has obviously come at short notice and is the realisation of a lifelong dream. At the moment my priority and focus is placed on leading this team to what can be a memorable series win against England. This Test squad is motivated and determined to turn our performances around and I’m looking forward to taking up that challenge as captain. Hashim is a good friend and close colleague and I am grateful for his support.”
De Villiers’s stint as the Test skipper will begin with the third Test against England in Johannesburg from January 14.